Cisco IOS Security Review

It covers everything but is especially effective when a lot of the traffic is in layer 7

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use is just as a firewall. That is pretty much it.  

How has it helped my organization?

We are able to filter a lot of traffic. The is especially effective when a lot of the traffic is in layer 7 — the internet aspect of security for application services.  

What is most valuable?

I think the multi-layered approach is valuable. Just the fact that it covers everything on the LSA (Local Security Authority) right up to layer 7, in-depth packet analysis, and all that. It covers everything we need it to without looking to secondary solutions.  

What needs improvement?

I think the user interface for IOS Security needs to be improved.  

I think the signature updates and all the other critical definitions need to be updated more frequently.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have only been using IOS (Internetwork Operating System) Security since about 2016. So we have worked with it for about four years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the product is okay. There were not really any bugs or glitches that I can remember.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability aspect of it is that it is one of those products where you have to incorporate additional hardware. It is a vertical scale, so you add on the boxes you need and bond them together. Of course, it costs more to scale that way than something that would be a software upgrade. You have got to pay to scale and to get more features.  

Our clients are generally small to medium-sized businesses. Cisco IOS is a pretty good fit for that range of clients.  

How are customer service and technical support?

I have used the Cisco technical support and they were okay. Rating them out of ten, I would give them an eight or nine-out-of-ten. They have a pretty good system with decent response time and accuracy. They are good overall and in comparison to other services. They offer 24/7 service, which is a benefit.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I was actually using Cisco products more in the past and use them as a consultant. Right now, Sophos is the only one I have been using. It just came about through one of those situations where we were able to partner up with Sophos. That is really the reason for the change.  

How was the initial setup?

Setup and installation are pretty much straightforward. Comparing the installation to Fortinet or Sophos they are all the same.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing for IOS Security is okay. It is competitive. It costs more when you have got the need to pay for more features. You have to buy more boxes and tie them together to upgrade to the next level.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have used Fortinet in the past too as well as Sophos and other Cisco products. They are all similar and if you know how to use them they are virtually all the same.  

What other advice do I have?

The advice that I would give to others looking into implementing this product is that I think they need to do their benchmarking. They should do due diligence beforehand in terms of their traffic.  

On a scale from one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate this product overall as about an eight-out-of-ten. I do not know how they could realistically improve on that much. You never keep up with the hackers, they are always a step ahead of us when it comes to security.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Learn what your peers think about Cisco IOS Security. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2021.
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